Report from the Dock
A week certainly does make a difference with the weather this time of year, although it’s likely nobody thought it would get this cold so early. With snow on the ground and winter-like weather covering the state, many anglers have been forced to put an early end to their open-water fishing season, about two to three weeks earlier than they’d like. Things were just getting really good on the walleye front and the few people still venturing out continue to catch fish. Unfortunately, the weather just isn’t conducive to putting several hours in on the water. There were even a few reports of skim ice taking hold on the ponds, bays, and some small lakes in parts of northern Minnesota and talk that ice fishing could potentially begin by the end of October.
LAKE MILLE LACS
Fishing pressure has been very limited since the cold weather moved in. With water temperatures dropping fast, tullibees should be moving on the shallow rocks and muskies will follow. If the weather allows, there should be some excellent muskie fishing opportunities over the next week to 10 days.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Walleyes are relating to moving pods of bait in 15 to 23 feet. Structure, areas of the lake adjacent rivers/streams, or areas in front of bays are holding good numbers of fish. Northern pike continue to be active in bays and along shorelines and trolling crankbaits continues to produce a mixed bag. People are commenting that this is one of the best runs of emerald shiners up the Rainy River in years. More and more walleyes are coming into the river each day, with good reports from 7 to 24 feet. The fish are moving often, so try different current seams, flats or holes until you find fish. Four Mile Bay is holding walleyes in 10 to 15 feet and sturgeon anglers are focusing on deeper holes with current.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
With the exception of a few muskie anglers fishing Lake Minnetonka and Lake Independence, most anglers seem to have ended their open water season. It’s been too cold and windy most days for people to venture onto area lakes.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
The few anglers still going out are catching walleyes with minnows in 18 to 25 feet, mainly rock-related in Big Bay. Unfortunately, it’s been so cold and windy, people haven’t be able to get at them as much as they’d like. Most of Pike Bay had skim ice on it Tuesday morning. Grouse hunting continues to be productive, but again, the weather has limited opportunities to get after them.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
Cold and windy weather has limited fishing activity over the past week. If conditions improve and anglers are allowed to get out at some point, you’ll likely still find walleyes along the shoreline breaks and points in less than 9 feet.
The people still venturing out are catching walleyes on a jig and minnow on the wind-driven points in 6 to 12 feet. Look for perch in Walker Narrows and muskies have been aggressive on the mid-depth rocks. Duck numbers have improved with more bluebills and ringnecks in the mix this week.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company
Fishing pressure has been almost nonexistent with the steady string of windy, cold weather. If an opportunity to fish arrives, work the rocks with bigger minnows in 23 to 25 feet for walleyes, pike, and smallmouth bass.
RainyDaze Guide Service
There isn’t much to report on the fishing front, basically since the cold weather and wind rolled in. It’s just been too miserable for anglers to get out, but if the weather does improve, work the shorelines with a jig and minnow for walleyes in less than 8 feet.
West Wind Resort (218) 647-8998
Twin Cities Metro
A few diehard anglers continue to work the Hudson area of the St. Croix River for walleyes in 25 to 28 feet. A few muskie anglers also have been working sucker minnows on White Bear Lake for muskies. Fishing activity has dropped way off over the past week.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle
Sucker minnows remain the best option for muskies on the reefs of Lake Waconia in 10 to 15 feet. Hit the deep holes of the Crow River with a jig and minnow for walleyes. Youth deer hunters had a solid hunt last weekend and archery hunters are reporting an uptick in rutting activity.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
Poor weather conditions have limited fishing since last week. There really hasn’t been enough people on the water to garner any type of significant reports. The corn is coming out in a hurry, so pheasant hunters are doing well and there has been a few northern ducks moving into the area.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle
A handful of diehard anglers continue to catch walleyes with minnows on Clearwater Lake in 10 to 15 feet and Sugar Lake in 15 to 25 feet. Duck hunters are seeing a few green-wing teal, mallards, and geese moving into the area and some wood ducks continue to be shot as well.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
The anglers still going out are catching walleyes with jigs and minnows in 15 to 25 feet on Otter Tail Lake and West Battle Lake. A few muskie anglers are venturing out as well, turning fish with sucker minnows in 10 to 15 feet on West Battle. Reports from the youth deer hunt were OK, with an assortment of small bucks and antlerless deer taken. Waterfowl hunters are seeing some new ducks move in, but there hasn’t been a big push of birds as of early this week.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
Walleye fishing has been good on area lakes, but most folks have put their boats away for the season. Small ponds are already froze and there is ice starting to form along some of the shorelines on the area’s small lakes. It looks like it might be an early start to the ice fishing season. Grouse hunting has been good and there are more ducks moving through the area.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service
Prior to the cold weather moving in, lakes such as Blackduck, Island, and Round were kicking out walleyes on a jig and minnow in 10 to 14 feet. There hasn’t been much fishing activity since about the middle of last week. The youth deer went well with high participation and good success, grouse hunting reports also have been strong, but there doesn’t seem to be much for new ducks moving in. Many small ponds are now ice-covered.
Timberline Sports and Tackle
The weather has really limited the number of people getting on the water, so there hasn’t been much new to report. The few going are mainly fishing walleyes with a jig and minnow on Gull Lake, North Long Lake, and Pelican Lake in 15 to 32 feet.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
If the weather allows anglers to get out, walleyes can be had during the day on Cass Lake in 30 to 50 feet. During the evening hours, you’ll find walleyes as shallow as 3 to 6 feet on the shorelines or current areas of Cass, Lake Andrusia, and Wolf Lake. Grouse hunters are doing well and some diver ducks have started showing up on bigger bodies of water.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
The arrival of winter-like weather has put an end to most open water fishing options at this point. If it gets warm enough to get back on the lakes, look for sunfish in less than 10 feet and suspended crappies over 12 to 15 feet on most lakes. Most wood ducks seem to have headed out and there wasn’t much for new ducks moving in early this week.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
The few people venturing on the water are catching walleyes on Rabbit Lake in 25 to 30 feet and the deeper holes or current seams on the Mississippi River with a jig and minnow. Duck numbers have improved with more mallards, redheads, ringbills, geese, and green-wing teal moving into the area. Reports were mixed during the early antlerless and youth deer hunts, but windy conditions likely limited success. The leaves are gone, so grouse hunting has been good and most hunters seem to be seeing good numbers of birds.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle
DETROIT LAKES AREA
A handful of anglers continue to venture out, catching walleyes with minnows in 15 to 20 feet at Big Detroit Lake, Pelican Lake, and Big Cormorant Lake. Sucker minnows are the ticket for muskies inn 12 to 15 feet on Lake Sallie, Big Detroit, and Pelican.
Quality Bait and Tackle
Archery hunters continue to do well and they’re seeing more buck activity this week. The youth deer hunt last weekend also produced good numbers of deer ,along with several nice bucks. The leaves are gone and brush has thinned out, so grouse hunting has been good for most people. If you’re willing to brave the cold weather, Island Lake and the St. Louis River are worth noting for muskies, while Boulder Lake would be a safe bet for walleyes in 12 feet.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
EAST CENTRAL MN
A handful of anglers are going to the Rum River and catching walleyes with minnows. Local lakes have been void of anglers with the arrival of cold weather. Waterful hunters are shooting geese, but local ducks have moved out and there hasn’t been much for new ducks moving in.
Tales and Trails Sport Shop
Open water fishing came to a quick end this week with the arrival of snow and cold air. As of Tuesday morning, there was a coating of ice on local ponds and several small lakes. Grouse hunting success has been excellent for those willing to get off the main trails and paths.
Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358
Fishing pressure has pretty much been nonexistent since the cold arrived and most anglers have put their boats away. Deer hunters report good success and plenty of sightings and their has been some diver ducks showing up in the area along with a few more mallards.
Redding Sports and Spirits
If weather conditions allow, look for yellow bass in 6 to 8 feet on Budd Lake and Sisseton Lake or crappies over 10 to 15 feet on Budd and Hall Lake. Duck numbers have remained stagnent, but there appears to be more geese in the area.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
FERGUS FALLS AREA
There hasn’t been anyone fishing since late last week due to the cold and windy weather. Waterfowl hunters are doing well as a good push of mallards, green-wing teal, redheads, and gadwall have moved into the area.
Little Chief Outpost
GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA
The only report worth noting and really the only spot people have headed to since last weekend, is the Gap area on Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake for walleyes in 8 to 12 feet. Duck and goose numbers remain favorable and have actually improved over the past week. The leaves and foliage is down, which has improved grouse hunting even more.
Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710
There was a good push of ducks into the area over the past week, including quite a few mallards, geese, ringnecks, and some other divers. The woods have thinned out and grouse hunters seem to be flushing quite a few birds if they’re willing to get off the main paths and trails. Hunter participation seemed strong during last weekend’s youth hunt. Fishing activity has pretty much come to a halt since the cold weather moved in.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle
The catch and release trout season is going strong and most streams continue to run clear and favorable for fishing. The streams within the Lanesboro city limits and state parks are providing excellent brown and rainbow trout fishing on nymphing patterns with beads. On the North Branch of the Root River, in-line spinners and small Rapalas are producing smallmouth bass and trout.
Root River Rod Company
A few diehard walleye anglers have been braving the poor weather, with limited success coming off Woman Lake in 20 to 25 feet. If the weather improves, look for suspended crappies over 20 feet or more on Boy Lake, Wabedo Lake, and Woman. There hasn’t been a big push of new ducks into the area, but grouse hunters are doing well. Participation during last weekend’s youth deer hunt was OK and there was a couple of nice bucks taken.
The One Stop (218) 363-2252
Fishing activity has dropped off considerably since the wind and cold weather moved in. Youth deer hunters did well last weekend with good numbers of deer being seen and shot. Pheasant hunting has improved with the corn coming out and there seems to be some new ducks in the area, including more divers.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Given the quick change with the weather, fishing reports have been limited to a few muskie reports off Big Mantrap Lake in 12 to 14 feet with sucker minnows. The winter-like weather has pushed more ducks and geese into the area, including some divers. Deer seem to be more active and grouse hunting reports remain favorable, although the number of people after them has dipped as well.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors
Look for walleyes to hit minnows during the day on Big Pine Lake and Rush Lake in 15 to 22 feet. If the weather allows, trolling crankbaits at night on these lakes in less than 10 feet will turn fish as well. Waterfowl hunters are seeing better numbers of ducks and geese in the area. There wasn’t a big push of new birds into the area early this week, but definetely more than last week, including some divers.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
Good numbers of sauger and some walleyes are being caught below the dam on the Mississippi River. Jigs tipped with plastics or minnows, along with blade baits, are producing fish in 10 to 15 feet. The snags and sunken trees up and down the river continue to hold panfish, while the bays off the main river are kicking out pike and largemouth bass. Waterfowl hunters are seeing and shooting more northern ducks such as mallards and divers.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
A few anglers continue to hit Lake Koronis or Horseshoe Lake for walleyes, but the bite has been relatively slow. For the most part, people have given up on the open water season with the drastic change to winter-like weather. There appears to be a push of mallards and geese into the area, but not much in the way of diver ducks early this week.
Channel Marine and Sports
SAUK CENTRE AREA
The only bite worth noting is coming off Sauk Lake for walleyes in 4 to 8 feet with a jig and minnow. There just hasn’t been many anglers venturing out since the weather changed so fast. The youth and antlerless deer seasons produced quite a few deer last weekend.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
A few anglers continue to fish the Mississippi River and find a mixed bag of walleyes and smallmouth bass above and below the dams. With the exception of some archery activity and limited duck hunting, hunting reports also have been limited.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
Pheasant hunting reports have been pretty good, especially west of the area, and with the majority of corn now harvested, it should only get better. There are some geese to be had, but duck numbers remain light. Fishing activity came to a quick end early this week with the arrival of snow and cold weather.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle
The cold weather has limited the number of people fishing, but those getting out are catching walleyes. Minnows are working best on the shorelines of Lake Sarah, Lake Shetek, Rock Lake, Dead Coon Lake, and Lake Benton. The bridge area on Lake Lac qui Parle continues to produce walleyes as well. Any corn that’s left should be gone by this weekend and that is resulting in some good pheasant hunting. The youth deer hunt went well with several quality bucks in the mix.
Borch’s Sporting Goods